Preferred Living project
Annexation could bring offices, apartments
Upper Arlington officials are considering annexing a portion of Perry Township to bring a new apartment and office development to the city.
Last month, Upper Arlington City Council unanimously authorized City Manager Theodore Staton to enter into a pre-annexation agreement with the Westerville-based development firm Preferred Living.
The move was an initial step toward the possible annexation of a little more than nine acres near the southeast intersection of Riverside Drive and Bethel Road in Perry Township.
Final project plans haven't been presented, but city officials said the developer is seeking to build an approximately 260-unit apartment complex and a 25,000-square-foot office building on the site.
"There are currently several single-family homes there that the developer has options to purchase," Community and Economic Development Manager Bob Lamb said. "They would be removing the homes in order to put new buildings on the site."
A Preferred Living representative identified by the city did not respond to emails sent to him seeking comment from the company on Dec. 19 and 20, and an official at one of its current residential offices would not provide additional contact information or pass on a message to someone who could speak about the project.
However, Preferred Living's website states the company "creates luxury and upscale apartment communities," including ones in Columbus, Dublin, Westerville and Worthington.
Lamb said the company has indicated the residential development proposed for Upper Arlington through annexation would set a new precedent for quality.
"They've expressed to us that this would be the nicest model they have done at this time," he said. "They have very nice product throughout the area."
If Staton and Preferred Living can finalize a pre-annexation, the matter is expected to come before council later this month or at some point in February, Lamb said. Council would have to approve the annexation.
Although no tenants have been identified publicly for the office portion of the project, Upper Arlington Mayor and City Council President Frank Citola said both the office and residential components of the project are expected to bring around $100,000 of new property and income taxes each year to the city.
He said that revenue is needed because the Ohio General Assembly eliminated the estate tax, which provided Upper Arlington with approximately $3.5 million to $4.5 million annually, and the city's share of Local Government Funds from the state has dropped from about $2.5 million five years ago to an expected $1 million in 2013.
"With the estate tax going away (this year) and Local Government Funds going downhill, we want to try to maximize revenue to the city in every opportunity we can," Ciotola said.
Lamb wouldn't commit to the estimated revenue the office development would bring, but said the residential portion of the project is expected to yield approximately $49,000 in new, annual property taxes for the city.
He also said it would provide housing Upper Arlington needs.
"It's a housing stock the city does not have an overwhelming abundance of," Lamb said. "We're seeing new interest in this type of housing.
"It will also increase our commercial office stock."
Due to prior agreements between the cities and school districts for Columbus and Dublin, children living at the proposed apartment complex could not attend Upper Arlington schools, but would be required to attend schools in Columbus or Dublin.
Likewise, Upper Arlington schools wouldn't receive any property taxes from the apartment or office developments.